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A First-timers Guide to Boulder, CO

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

(2020 Update)

From hiking the flatirons to dining on Pearl Street, there are plenty of things to do in Boulder, Colorado. Whether you are visiting for the weekend or starting college as a young buff, we have compiled a list of activities that can help you become more familiar with this vibrant college town!

  1. Hike the Flatirons

Travelers from all over the world come to see the natural rock formation that towers over Boulder. Easily accessed from the heart of the town, Chautauqua Park is located along Earth’s 40th parallel (Baseline Road) and acts as a home base for recreating in the area. There is an extensive trail network allowing access to each of the three flatirons. For beginners, I would recommend hiking the 2nd flatiron which offers sensational views but does not require climbing equipment.

Photo by Malachi Brooks

2. Tube at Boulder Creek

Bring an inner tube and head to Eban G. Fine Park, located at the base of Boulder Canyon (Featured in the popular 70’s TV show Mork & Mindy). The banks are a popular place to soak up the sun so make sure to bring a towel and some local brews to sip on. From this park, you can float several miles through downtown, past Boulder High School, and even past campus. Life jackets are recommended, especially when snow runoff is high and rapids run larger.

3. Experience a Show

The city is lucky to be home to two music venues where artists from around the world commonly play. Located on University Hill, the Fox is an intimate venue that holds only a few hundred people but embodies the party spirit of the college campus where it is located. Don’t be fooled by its small size as the Fox has been known to host big-name bands such as Dave Matthews and String Cheese Incident.

Boulder Theatre is Boulder’s other music hall and is not to be overshadowed. Constructed in the 1930s this art deco style theatre has maintained a vintage-feel and is now considered an icon of the town. Along with the historic feel, this theatre hosts an array of events from the Warren Miller film festival to Odeza, this theatre has entertainment for everyone.

Photo by Simon Goetz

4. Enjoy Pearl Street Mall

Pearl Street Mall is a four-block pedestrian mall that never fails to disappoint. Come any time of day and you are sure to find exquisite food, open-air, and fantastic people watching. This open-air mall is home to all types of stores from Patagonia apparel, Peppercorn decor, and food from around the world. Just to name a few, restaurants like The Rio Grande and Japango have become Boulder staples, but there are so many more that you will just have to go and experience yourself!

5. Hit the Bars

Despite Boulder’s relatively small size, the nightlife is booming and will keep you wanting more. A locals favorite is a bar called Licence No. 1 which was constructed in 1909 and became Boulder’s first liquor license. Located under The Hotel Boulderado, this upscale lounge is still serving up delectable cocktails today. After loosening up, crawl down Pearl Street and stop in for a drink at names like The Biergarten, The Sun Downer, and The Pub which are all within about a block from one another. If you’re looking to dance, stop at Tahona bar where you will find Latin vibes, Boulder moms, and tequila that flows like water.

Boulder is certainly a town with lots going on so make sure to get out and explore all that there is to offer!

Written by: @its_jacksonmartin

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